Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Comedic Afternoon

Last weekend we went with A to a Rakugo performance (done in English) in Toyota City. Rakugo is like comedic storytelling with a punch line. There is one performer at a time on stage, and they speak for two or more characters during the monologue - few props are used, so each character is distinguished by slight changes in tone and pitch, and by which direction the performer's face is tilted. This is a simplified version of the dialogue from the first performance.

After the actor performed, the audience had to try it too, speaking in unison. Next, two "volunteers" from the audience were pulled onstage to try performing the story. After hearing it so many times in a row, I'm pretty sure I could perform it from memory.

Rakugo is more than 300 years old, so a number of the stories come from that time period, but since we were hearing an English performance, simpler stories were used that could translate well and still have a funny ending.

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